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The time is right for an open data fund

Prasanna Lal Das's picture
Also available in: Español | Français

Nobody cares about open data. And they shouldn’t. What people care about are jobs, clean air, safety and security, education, health, and the like. And for open data to be relevant and meaningful, it must contribute to what people care about and need.

We wrote a few weeks ago that the private sector is increasingly using open data in ways that are not only commercially viable but also produce measurable social impact. What is missing is financing that can help catalyze the growth of data fueled businesses in emerging economies. We are developing a fund that will address this precise need.

The context
Companies such as Climate Corporation, Opower, Brightscope, Panjiva, Zillow, Digital Data Divide and many others have shown that it’s possible to be disruptive (in established sectors such as agriculture, health and education), innovative (across the data spectrum - from collection to storage to analytics to dissemination), profitable, and socially impactful at the same time (see Climate Corporation’s Ines Kapphan, Metabiota’s Ash Casselman, and the GovLabs@NYU’s Joel Gurin talk about how how open data based companies are tackling complex, sophisticated development problems in high-impact business sectors – their path breaking work is clear evidence of the growing maturity of the industry).

No open data? No problem. 5 ways entrepreneurs are fueling open data in the developing world

Sandra Moscoso's picture

New methods of data collection

Open data is creating opportunities for governments to work more efficiently and effectively, for citizens to engage with government and take a more active role in communities, for activists to support their advocacy efforts with facts, for entrepreneurs to bring new products and services to market, and for the bulk of us to be able to make everyday decisions

On the entrepreneurial side, the World Bank's Open Finances team has been exploring the commercial value of open data, and looking for opportunities to support entrepreneurs. These goals are achievable thanks to governments who have fostered innovation around public data by taking the step to open it. What happens when governments haven't yet opened public data? Is it possible for entrepreneurs to take advantage of open data where it does not exist?

From open data to development impact – the crucial role of the private sector

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

Can open data lead to reduced energy consumption (and therefore slow down climate change)? Can open data help improve maternal health services (and thus improve facets of public delivery of services)? Can open data help farmers and crop insurers make better crop predictions (and thus lead to smarter investment decisions in agriculture)? Can open data empower citizens to fight back against police corruption (and thus help promote the rule of law)?

खुले डेटा से विकास प्रभाव तक — निजी क्षेत्र की महत्‍वपूर्ण भूमिका

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

क्‍या ओपन डेटा (खुला/सर्वसुलभ डेटा) की वजह से ऊर्जा खपत में कमी आ सकती है (और इसलिए जलवायु परिवर्तन धीमा हो सकता है)? क्‍या ओपन डेटा से मातृत्‍व स्‍वास्‍थ्‍य सेवाएं बेहतर हो सकती हैं (और इस तरह सेवाओं के सार्वजनिक वितरण संबंधी पहलुओं को बेहतर किया जा सकता है)? क्‍या ओपन डेटा से किसानों और फसल बीमाकर्ताओं को फसल संबंधी पूर्वानुमान लगाने में मदद मिल सकती है (और इस तरह कृषि में निवेश के अधिक समझदारी वाले निर्णय लिये जा सकते हैं)? क्‍या पुलिस भ्रष्‍टाचार से लड़ने में ओपन डेटा नागरिकों को सशक्‍त कर सकता है (और इस तरह कानून के शासन को प्रोत्‍साहित करता है)?